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MAN KILLED BY DERAILED DISNEY ROLLERCOASTER; Horrific crash leaves 10 hurt.

Byline: ANTHONY HARWOOD, US Editor

A MAN was killed and 10 hurt yesterday in when coaster crash derailed at Disneyland.

Police said the locomotive became separated from passenger cars on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad came off the tracks in a dark tunnel.

The man who died was in the first passenger carriage. Two children, one aged nine, were among those on board the carriage, which became detached from the rest of the train on the white-knuckle ride.

Bosses at the attraction, which has almost 13million visitors a year, last night pledged to find out what caused the accident.

Police said four male and four female passengers were taken to hospital.

Some of the injured, aged nine to 47, were treated in an emergency medical unit set up at the park in Anaheim, California, after the 11.20am tragedy.

Sergeant Rick Martinez, of Anaheim police, said: "It appears that one of the trains on the ride somehow separated. It caused injury to a lot of people on the attraction.

"Unfortunately one person was killed. He was pronounced dead here at the scene."

His officers were working with Disney to investigate the derailment.

The ride, popular with families, takes visitors twisting through mineshafts and caverns and past falling rocks and waterfalls.It is built around an Old West mine train that seems to become a runaway for extra thrills. Horrified TV viewers in the US watched the rescue operation unfold live as television firms used helicopters to film it.

Park president Cynthia Harris said: "We are shocked and saddened by this morning's incident.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of those involved."

She added: "At this point we don't believe sabotage was involved, but we are going to look at everything."

The theme park has been hit by tragedy before. A man died in 1998 after being struck at the dock in the Columbia ship attraction.

And four-year-old boy was critically injured after being trapped underneath a car in the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin in September 2000.

A couple from Utah also sued Disneyland, saying they had been injured in summer 2000 on the Space Mountain roller coaster when their car derailed during an emergency stop.

Last year Disney - the world's biggest owner of theme parks - named a new executive to oversee safety amid public concerns in the aftermath of the September 11 2001 terror attacks.

It also released a report on efforts to improve safety at its parks.

CAPTION(S):

TERROR RIDE: The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, where one man died; WELCOMING: Entrance sign
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 6, 2003
Words:428
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